INDIA. Mumbai: In a barbaric incident, a 32-year-old woman, was raped and brutally assaulted by a 45-year-old man, leading to her death within few hours, at Saki Naka in North East Mumbai, in the wee hours of Friday.
The accused identified as Mohan Chauhan has been arrested by the Saki Naka police and a special team headed by ACP Jyotsna Rasam is making further investigations. After receiving the call around 3.20 am, from a private security guard that a woman was being assaulted in a tempo, the police rushed to the spot by 3.30 am and found the victim in a tempo with bleeding injuries. They drove the same tempo and took her to the Rajawadi Hospital.
An FIR was registered after she was examined at the hospital. The doctors carried out an emergency surgery but the woman could not survive since she suffered injuries to her private parts. The accused had reportedly inserted a rod in her private parts, leaving her in a critical condition.
The offence (FIR No.937/2021) was registered and the accused was booked under sections 323 (voluntary causing hurt), 376 (rape), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Subsequently, section 302 (murder) was added to the FIR.
When the police scanned the CCTV footage, they saw Chouhan assaulting the woman around 2.25 am on a footpath in the Khairani Road area of Saki Naka, after which he took her to the tempo. The police located him in the Saki Naka area around 1.30 pm on Friday and put him under arrest when he was in the process of leaving for his home town Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh. When produced in the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s court, the magistrate remanded the accused to police custody till September 21.
File a charge sheet within a month: CM
In a related incident Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in a meeting with top officials on Saturday, directed the police to expedite the matter and file a charge sheet within one month against the accused so that the case could be tried in the fast track court.
Thackeray directed police to increase regular patrolling in the areas frequented by women, identify hot spots where the women’s security could be in danger and set up a “Nirbhaya” squads headed by a woman officer in every police station. (The moniker “Nirbhaya”(fearless) came into vogue after the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in December 2012 in Delhi).
Thackeray also asked police to take steps to ensure the safety of isolated women on road, if need be with the help from social organizations and the work of installation of CCTV cameras in the city in the second phase of CCTV installations be completed expeditiously.
Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Additional CS (Home) Manukumar Srivastav, DGP Sanjay Pande, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale, Mumbai Joint CPs Vishwas Nangre-Patil, and Milind Bharambe attended the meeting with the chief minister.
The accused is a driver, who has been carrying out driving assignments on a casual basis in the Khairani Road area. A habitual alcoholic, he sometimes used to sleep on a footpath. He is stated to be married with two children, but used to be away from home quite frequently.
The National Commission for Women’s Chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted that the Commission has taken a suo moto cognizance of the crime and will soon start its investigation. She also requested the police to conduct a fair and time-bound investigation and provide assistance to the woman’s family.
Hang the culprit: former CM
The incident in Mumbai, the Maharashtra capital, triggered a massive outrage across the state, with the Opposition leaders training guns at the ruling MVA government over the issue of women’s safety.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that “ I know that awarding a sentence is in the hands of the judiciary. But I feel the culprit should be hanged to death. Existing laws are sufficient to take tough actions against the culprit. It is the willpower of the state to take tough decisions and follow it up till the logical end.”
Fadnavis also said that the incident was an “unfortunate reminder” of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case. Six people had raped a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus before throwing her on the street. She died while undergoing treatment. Her death led to several protests and more conversations about crimes against women. It also led to some changes in the law. Four of the six accused were hanged in 2020 – eight years after the incident.
Maharashtra’s BJP Vice President Chitra Wagh recommended that a new law be introduced for women’s safety under which the accused would not get bail easily.